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Now ye're talking - to someone who has been through rehab

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  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Does a stay in Coolmines etc involve the use of alcohol anti craving medication such as librium,.or is it a totally clean detox to recovery!?

    Unfortunately Coolmine don't do detoxes (with the exception of methadone; opiate users can be on a low dose of methadone going in.) That's something that's really badly needed in this country, a means for people to detox from alcohol/drugs, at the moment most places with available beds are the very expensive places that you need health insurance for. (Thankfully that's something I've always had; my parents stepped in and paid mine for the time when I wasn't working.)

    So many people would love the chance to do a program like Coolmine, the barrier for them is getting the few clean urines in a row that will allow them into the program. To those of you with no experience of addiction it may not seem much of an ask for someone to stay clean for a couple of weeks to get into a program; however when you're in the height of it even a day clean is pretty much impossible.


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    job seeker wrote: »
    You mention earlier that your career was one of the many things that you lost. Can I ask what career were you pursuing before you entered rehab. Has your experience in becoming sober influenced you in choosing a different career since becoming sober or have/will you you returned to the same industry?

    Very well done to you on becoming sober and the best of luck in the future!

    I was working in Accountancy/Finance for years. Since becoming sober I did a level 5 qualification in Community Addiction Studies, I'm about to do another level 5 in Criminology starting in a couple of weeks. And next year I'm hoping to do a Masters in Addiction Recovery.

    In the meantime I'm back working in Finance to make a few €€€ to cover the costs of all those courses. It's work I still really enjoy doing, but long-term I know I could make a difference to peoples' lives, especially those with dual diagnoses like myself. When I have the choice of playing around with numbers or using my experience to make a meaningful contribution to families lives, there's no contest really, I know what would bring me real fulfillment.

    By the way, as Finance can be quite high-pressured I didn't jump straight back in - I spent some time on a CE scheme in an addiction service, then I took a minimum wage job working on the till in a supermarket for a few months, before taking on a proper Finance role - but only on a part-time basis, with hours that suit me perfectly and allow me to prioritise access with my son, and giving me plenty of free time to keep focussing on my recovery too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,603 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko


    skallywag wrote: »
    Are most of those in rehab genuinely there, or do you come across some who are there just to go through the motions, or to keep someone else happy?

    Hmmm in my own experience, the likes of the private institutions with short-term programs (like four weeks or so), the profile of the clients tends to be older people (50s-60s), financially secure, who don't really believe they have a serious problem but are in their either to give their bodies a break, or to please their spouse or grown-up children.
    Can I ask a practical question please?

    Did you have health insurance to cover the costs of St Pat's? Did you have any issues with the limits on duration of cover - 90 days I think?

    Is insurance an issue for Coolmine?

    Congrats on getting out the other side.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,115 ✭✭✭job seeker


    I was working in Accountancy/Finance for years. Since becoming sober I did a level 5 qualification in Community Addiction Studies, I'm about to do another level 5 in Criminology starting in a couple of weeks. And next year I'm hoping to do a Masters in Addiction Recovery.

    In the meantime I'm back working in Finance to make a few €€€ to cover the costs of all those courses. It's work I still really enjoy doing, but long-term I know I could make a difference to peoples' lives, especially those with dual diagnoses like myself. When I have the choice of playing around with numbers or using my experience to make a meaningful contribution to families lives, there's no contest really, I know what would bring me real fulfillment.

    By the way, as Finance can be quite high-pressured I didn't jump straight back in - I spent some time on a CE scheme in an addiction service, then I took a minimum wage job working on the till in a supermarket for a few months, before taking on a proper Finance role - but only on a part-time basis, with hours that suit me perfectly and allow me to prioritise access with my son, and giving me plenty of free time to keep focussing on my recovery too.

    That's absolutely amazing that you're taking the tough period of your life and turning it into a positive to help others! The very best of luck with your studies in the future and thanks for Doing this AMA!


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Can I ask a practical question please?

    Did you have health insurance to cover the costs of St Pat's? Did you have any issues with the limits on duration of cover - 90 days I think?

    Is insurance an issue for Coolmine?

    Congrats on getting out the other side.

    The insurance cover for VHI is 91 days I think over any 5 year period, you also get up to 100 days for psychiatric illness ever year. So my time there would have been allocated between both types of cover.

    The likes of St Pats, St John of Gods, the Rutland, Smarmore, Ais Eiri, White Oaks, Bushy Park, Tabor Group would be mostly covered by health insurance. Now I do know some people who've used up all of their health insurance addiction days and cover the costs for subsequent programs themselves - in the likes of St Pats, you'd be talking close to 30 grand for a months admission.

    Coolmine charge I think €140 or thereabouts a week which is not covered by health insurance, in general it is taken out of the person's social welfare payment. (Many of Coolmine's clients are homeless going in, and are entitled to some form of social welfare.)

    Other places such as Cuan Mhuire and Tig Linn (religious institutions) are not covered by VHI either, and would have similar rates to Coolmine. Possibly slightly cheaper actually as far as I remember.


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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    How did you find the transition on getting out of rehab..are you sober since?

    Edit.. sorry, just read a bit more of the thread..

    Best of luck anyway.. glad things are good with your son..


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,609 ✭✭✭irishgirl19


    You have overcome so much. Fair play to you. Best of luck to you and your family


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,522 ✭✭✭✭Tell me how


    Hi OP.
    I know someone who has walked a very similar path to you and every time I see them do something or discuss something relating to 'real life' I am very thankful that they managed to get to a place where it can be said that they have overcome the problems which impacted them and made life for them so difficult for so long.

    I was wondering about your relationship with your friends and family and the father of your child. I am sure that they are glad to see you well but I am curious what the relationships were like throughout your illness, did you feel misunderstood, did you think at all about how they viewed you, were you sitting there wishing they would help you but not knowing how to ask for it? Did they see you as selfish or irresponsible in any way or how did you handle any judgement which might have been targeted towards you? When you did start to become well, did you feel you had to explain yourself or apologise for your behaviour in any way and did Coolmine advocate and support including your family in the recovery process in any way?

    It's a rambling question, you don't need to specifically answer each part individually.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 310 ✭✭BlackandGreen


    Did any of your co-workers notice your addiction issues or behavior changes while being drunk at work?

    Did they say anything to you about it?


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    How did you find the transition on getting out of rehab..are you sober since?

    Edit.. sorry, just read a bit more of the thread..

    Best of luck anyway.. glad things are good with your son..

    Most of the times I've left rehab in the past, things didn't go well.

    For example, I spent 7 months in Cuan Mhuire (doing two 12-week programs back-to-back) ... I went from being in a totally contained controlled environment with no exposure to the real world, to suddenly being out there on my own. I found myself a room to rent, I managed to get myself a job ... but I was so used to being surrounded by people, and being told what to do and where to go and how to act ... I just didn't cope well with the sudden isolation and lack of structure and routine. I relapsed almost straight away and lost the job ... I was on a downward spiral then until I found myself back in treatment again.

    It's a common problem for people leaving treatment, they do so well when they're in there, but in the likes of Cuan Mhuire you have so little contact with the outside world. You go out there and you've changed, but the rest of the world hasn't, all of those problems and relationships that you'd been hiding away from for so long are suddenly to the forefront again, it's very difficult to cope.

    The seven months I spent in Coolmine were very different, there is no hiding away from the outside world and the problems there, the program is all about facing up to those problems and reintegrating you into society on a gradual basis. You get plenty of days out and weekends home over the course of the program, and even when you finish you don't leave until you have a suitable home to go to (in my case, it was a SVDP transition house until I found my own rented apartment.) You go from residential to a step-down program for a couple of months, which is five days a week and really helps with the transition. I remember going into step-down and bawling my eyes out most days because I was struggling so much with the transition. :o I struggled, but with the help of the step-down facilitators and my peer, I didn't relapse. Even after you finish step-down, there's an Aftercare group that you have to attend once a week for a few months, then after that there's a graduate group you can go to once a week for the rest of your life if you want. (There is no charge for any of these groups.)

    Between all of the support I've gotten from Coolmine, and the ongoing support I get from my psychiatric team in St Pats too, I'm doing really well at the moment ... life is good. :)


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  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Hi OP.
    I know someone who has walked a very similar path to you and every time I see them do something or discuss something relating to 'real life' I am very thankful that they managed to get to a place where it can be said that they have overcome the problems which impacted them and made life for them so difficult for so long.

    I was wondering about your relationship with your friends and family and the father of your child. I am sure that they are glad to see you well but I am curious what the relationships were like throughout your illness, did you feel misunderstood, did you think at all about how they viewed you, were you sitting there wishing they would help you but not knowing how to ask for it? Did they see you as selfish or irresponsible in any way or how did you handle any judgement which might have been targeted towards you? When you did start to become well, did you feel you had to explain yourself or apologise for your behaviour in any way and did Coolmine advocate and support including your family in the recovery process in any way?

    It's a rambling question, you don't need to specifically answer each part individually.

    Good question!

    I'll start with the father of my child, however he's a Boardsie and may well be reading this, so out of respect for him I'm not going to go into detail.

    I was an absolute nightmare to live with and treated him very badly, towards the end he was in an awful position. He had a one-year-old child whose mother was gone completely off the rails; as you all may know fathers can struggle to get any rights the way the legal system is in Ireland, so it must have been a difficult decision for him to do what he did in the end. While I was hurt by him leaving (to put it mildly!), in hindsight I know that he was doing the right thing and putting our son first. He stepped up to do the right thing for our son when I was just completely lost in my own issues. He was, and is, a great dad.

    For what it's worth I've apologised to him for the way things were back then, to be honest I'm not sure words really mean all that much though. We have a very good co-parenting relationship these days; he knows that when I have access with my son I'll be well and sober, and that our child is completely safe in my care. I think that peace of mind for him is probably worth more than any words of apology.

    As for my parents and siblings, things are great these days but we did have some very difficult times throughout my addiction.

    I've had a few family group therapy sessions with my parents ... there was a lot of emotion there. My parents feel a lot of guilt about not protecting me from the abuse as a child ... I've done a lot of inner child work (I just hate that phrase but it is what it is) and - while grown-up me knows that my parents did their best - there was still that little girl screaming out for help and not understanding why my parents were so blind to what was going on. I had to do a lot of work to overcome my issues there.

    My parents were always very supportive throughout my addiction, but they had to put down boundaries. I have a lot of younger siblings, the youngest of whom is still only a teenager, and towards the end when I was homeless and staying in hostels etc, they were not in a position to have me in the family home. Can you blame them?! I was never angry at them for that, but again they felt a lot of guilt that (they felt) they could have done more to help me.

    I have a great relationship with the psychiatric consultant in St Pats who has gone above and beyond to help me over the past few years. Any time I sobered up and started promising her the moon and the stars about how I was going to do things right this time and never drink again, her response was always the same - "Don't tell me, show me." I feel that that's what I am doing with my family and those closest to me - I don't make promises to anyone that I'm going to stay sober forever. I have made my apologies - honest, thorough apologies to everyone I've hurt - but I've left that in the past now, I don't feel the need to grovel or beg for anyone's forgiveness or approval. I am who I am now, and those in my life can accept me as I am or not at all.

    I've said it already but addiction makes you behave like an absolute c*nt (sorry for the language, but it's true.) I've been guilty of manipulating everyone around me, of constant lies, of stealing, of all sorts of horrible behaviour. And you know what, when you've lived like that for years, those awful behaviours don't magically disappear when you sober up because they are so deeply ingrained in you. Coolmine is a behavioural change program, on a daily basis you have to pull your peer up on their behaviour - as in, you see someone trying to squirm out of doing the washing up, and you have to say "I'm pulling you up for a lazy attitude." These pull-ups all get written into a book, you'll be called out on any constant behaviours. It sounds bizarre - I know! - but it works ... when you're constantly pulling up those around you on their behaviours, you become more aware of your own, until you find you are pulling yourself up long after you leave the program.

    I was never a bad person, I was a good person with some really nasty behaviours. I've worked really hard to eliminate those behaviours, and these days I have a clear conscience going to bed every night about how I've carried myself and how I've treated other people that day. And today is all we have to work with. I'd love to change the past ... I can't ... however instead of spending the rest of my life apologising, I know better now and I do better as a result.


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Did any of your co-workers notice your addiction issues or behavior changes while being drunk at work?

    Did they say anything to you about it?

    The answer is yes ... I'm going to be careful answering this one, and not go into too much detail, as I know I'm very identifiable in this AMA, anyone who knows me who is reading this has probably recognised who I am by now.

    I was in full-time employment in an office job, towards the end I was off sick more than I was in, and when I did turn up I was probably almost always intoxicated. It did not go unnoticed. My employers were incredibly supportive and asked me to take some paid time off to sort myself off.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭Bazzy


    How are you around alcohol now could you go to a party for a night ? or is that still a struggle?


  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭Soulsun


    Did you meet many interesting characters along your journey?


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Bazzy wrote: »
    How are you around alcohol now could you go to a party for a night ? or is that still a struggle?

    Do you know, it's funny, I often pass pubs in the evening and see groups of people my age standing around enjoying a drink together, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Because I wasn't a social drinker, I was a very antisocial isolated drinker. All I ever wanted was to be locked away in a room on my own drinking myself into nothingness. You know when you see a homeless person on the street, dead to the world, completely goofed off their face on heroin or whatever? That's exactly the sort of oblivion I was seeking, and seeing someone like that is far likely to trigger me than seeing "normal" responsible adults enjoying a few drinks in a healthy way.

    I've been to weddings, parties, meals out etc in sobriety and really it doesn't bother me. The smell or sight of alcohol in a social context doesn't set me off, it's just something that other people enjoy in a way that I never could and never will.

    As an aside, I'm on a drug called Antabuse, it's a bit of a contraversial drug that makes you violently sick if you ingest any alcohol. You would need to stop taking it two weeks before having a drink. People have died while drinking on it (hence the controversy.) Many doctors won't even prescribe it. In fact I drank on it before once a few years ago and ended up very ill in hospital. Anyways it's not what keeps me sober, but I guess it is an extra safeguard that allows me to enjoy social occasions knowing that alcohol just isn't even an option for me. I take it every day, however I know of people in recovery who have it at home and only take it once in a while if they're invited to a wedding or other social occasion and want to keep themselves safe.


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Soulsun wrote: »
    Did you meet many interesting characters along your journey?

    Absolutely, yes! However this is a question which I'll only be able to answer in a very broad sense; I'm choosing to be very honest in this AMA about questions that pertain to me, but out of respect for other peoples privacy I wouldn't like to say anything identifiable about others I've met along the way.

    I've sat in groups with many criminals, male and females but I suppose in my own experience men are more likely to have committed very violent crimes, including murder, and it's been difficult to hear about some of those crimes in a very intense group setting. Generally if those crimes were committed when the person was in addiction, the person would have shown a lot of remorse, but that wasn't always the case. I have encountered a couple of guys who I feel were probably genuine sociopaths, and it's really chilling to hear them talk about their crimes and to sense their complete lack of empathy. Especially (I'm thinking of a couple of men in particular) when you know they're coming to the end of their time in prison/treatment and will soon be out living in normal society again.

    Due to the long periods of time I spent in psychiatric wards, I've observed up close and personal cases of acute psychosis, schitzophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders, OCD and phobias, bipolar manias and depressions ... I've seen extreme episodes of self-harm and suicide attempts very up close and personal. Which was traumatic for everyone involved. I've also seen people - no matter how ill they were being admitted to hospital - coming out the other end really well and healthy once they've had the right treatment and are on the right medication for them. You'd probably be surprised how many people you'd meet in day-to-day life who've been very mentally ill at some point in the past, who have overcome it and who live very well with their diagnoses.

    I've met a few celebrities along the way, obviously out of respect for their privacy there is no chance I'd go naming any of them. They were treated much the same as any other clients, still had to participate in housework and share dorms and all the rest, were still expected to participate openly and honestly in groups. I mean, it was exciting for about five minutes when you'd hear of someone famous being admitted, but you'd quickly realise that they were every bit as low and as desperate as any of the rest of us being admitted, and just wanted to keep a low profile and get on with things.

    Looking back over all of the programs I've been on - and we're talking well in the double digits anyways - I would say I could probably still name almost everyone I've ever been in a therapy group with, and in fact I am still in touch with almost all of them. I've been really privileged to meet some really fantastic and inspirational people along the way. You learn to overlook the surface differences between yourself and others, and instead find your common ground and ways that you can identify with each others stories.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭Bazzy


    Do you know, it's funny, I often pass pubs in the evening and see groups of people my age standing around enjoying a drink together, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. Because I wasn't a social drinker, I was a very antisocial isolated drinker. All I ever wanted was to be locked away in a room on my own drinking myself into nothingness. You know when you see a homeless person on the street, dead to the world, completely goofed off their face on heroin or whatever? That's exactly the sort of oblivion I was seeking, and seeing someone like that is far likely to trigger me than seeing "normal" responsible adults enjoying a few drinks in a healthy way.

    I've been to weddings, parties, meals out etc in sobriety and really it doesn't bother me. The smell or sight of alcohol in a social context doesn't set me off, it's just something that other people enjoy in a way that I never could and never will.

    As an aside, I'm on a drug called Antabuse, it's a bit of a contraversial drug that makes you violently sick if you ingest any alcohol. You would need to stop taking it two weeks before having a drink. People have died while drinking on it (hence the controversy.) Many doctors won't even prescribe it. In fact I drank on it before once a few years ago and ended up very ill in hospital. Anyways it's not what keeps me sober, but I guess it is an extra safeguard that allows me to enjoy social occasions knowing that alcohol just isn't even an option for me. I take it every day, however I know of people in recovery who have it at home and only take it once in a while if they're invited to a wedding or other social occasion and want to keep themselves safe.

    Thanks so much for the reply best of luck for the future and i'm delighted to hear you have your relationship with your son rebuilt.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭julyjane


    Well done on all your hard work.

    What are the people working in addiction/recovery services like? It's an area I've always been interested in but don't know much about the process/job titles and have no relevant qualifications or experience. Are there volunteers who work there and what are their roles?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    Congrats on coming out the other side. And well done on an excellent AMA.

    Did anything happen to your abuser?


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    julyjane wrote: »
    Well done on all your hard work.

    What are the people working in addiction/recovery services like? It's an area I've always been interested in but don't know much about the process/job titles and have no relevant qualifications or experience. Are there volunteers who work there and what are their roles?

    I actually don't really know all that much about that side of things. I know (in my experience) in some of the religious organisations, a lot of the staff don't have much formal training. Or a lot of the staff would be doing unpaid work placements there that go towards their qualifications.

    A good place to look would be the website activelink.ie, that's where the community and non-profit organisations do most of their advertising for roles. I'd have browsed it to see whether my level 5 qualification would be sufficient for any support roles and I found that most jobs advertised required minimum level 6 or level 7. So I'll definitely need to spend a bit more time in education before I can work in the area.

    It may be worth having a look on volunteer.ie too to see if there's anything relevant there. Or even just contacting local organisations directly. I would imagine most reputable services would require Garda vetting, even for volunteer positions, especially if you'd be working directly with clients.

    A lot of those working in addiction have been through the recovery process themselves. Some addicts much prefer working with those who have been through it, as they think only those who've been there can truly understand. I disagree with that sentiment, in fact some of the professionals who've really helped me the most have never (to my knowledge) had direct experience of addiction. One project worker made a very good point when confronted by a client saying that he'd never been in addiction so he didn't understand. He said that no, he'd never been in addiction, however he'd had an extremely tough life with lots of challenges in it, and he had no choice but to find coping mechanisms that worked for him without using drink or drugs to get through it. So, he said, didn't we think we could learn a lot from him about how to cope in sobriety? I'm not explaining it very well. :o But as I see it, you wouldn't expect your oncologist to be a cancer survivor ... people have a huge capacity for empathy, you can even see it in some of the replies on this thread. You don't have to have walked in someone's shoes to be able to show them a better way of living.

    I find that the best addiction workers I've encountered are assertive confident people, who can be good role models for their clients. A sense of humour is an absolute must, even (especially) in the darkest situations. Lots of empathy and compassion, and the ability to be non-judgemental and to accept people as they are and where they are. Communication skills are obviously a biggie too.


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  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Congrats on coming out the other side. And well done on an excellent AMA.

    Did anything happen to your abuser?

    He was my dad's brother, and I finally got honest with my parents about the abuse a few years ago. They were devastated but not particularly shocked. As far as I know my dad confronted him about it and he admitted to some of it but not all of it.

    He had been a member of the clergy and had already been "defrocked" years ago because of what he'd done to some altar boys in the parish. That had been a big court case in the papers and all at the time, but in the end it was settled outside of court ... I just couldn't face the though of going through all of that so publicly, when I had no real evidence, it would've been his word against mine. So I've never really given much thought to pressing charges etc ... the local Gardai and Tusla had to be informed, so I suppose I'm satisfied that no other children are in danger. He's old now and has no contact with any kids, I have to admit I'll be relieved when I hear that he's dead.

    It was never really him that I was mad with. I fully blamed myself. He wasn't abusing me, as I saw it, I believed that (even at three years old) I was the one doing something wrong, something bold. I was so angry with myself for what was happening, in my mind - because he was a priest - he was a really good person, right up there with God, so if these awful painful things were happening between us, I had to be the one causing it all to happen.

    Of course as an adult I can see how things really were, that I was very vulnerable and he was very wrong to take advantage of it. But I suppose the healing work I had to do around it was not so much to get justice by bringing him up to account, but moreso to learn to forgive myself. It was an internal process. Even now that I'm out the other side, I just don't see what would be gained to go taking action against him. It would serve me no purpose, and I guess it's an issue where I have to be selfish and protect my own well-being rather than doing the "right" thing just for the sake of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,833 ✭✭✭Princess Calla


    I also wanted to ask about the abuse but was afraid to.

    As a mum I'm petrified I'll miss the signs if something was happening to my children.

    From your last post I presume you bottled it all up and put on a brave face :(

    You are such an honest and strong person.

    Alcohol isn't given enough credit for the devastation it causes.

    Best of luck :)


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    I also wanted to ask about the abuse but was afraid to.

    As a mum I'm petrified I'll miss the signs if something was happening to my children.

    From your last post I presume you bottled it all up and put on a brave face :(

    You are such an honest and strong person.

    Alcohol isn't given enough credit for the devastation it causes.

    Best of luck :)

    The signs were there. When I was four years old I stopped using my left leg - I can't remember too much about it, but it shrunk down to half the size of the other leg through lack of use. My parents brought me for Xrays and to physios and all the rest, they were told that there was nothing physical causing it and was it possible I'd been through some sort of trauma? My parents didn't know, they couldn't have known, but I guess that was my way of trying to communicate that something was wrong.

    In hindsight my mum says that I changed when I was that age - I was always a quiet child, but I became very withdrawn and fearful, I only felt safe when I was alone, I'd lock myself away in hidden dark places (my favourite was inside the roof-rack stored in the garage with all the lights off!) I had nightmares, I started wetting the bed again, I went from being a good eater to having aversions to most foods - when I was a bit older, the staff in a Gaelteacht I went to told my mother they thought I had an eating disorder. I was self-harming, cutting myself from the age of about eight - I wouldn't let my mother see me in the bathroom any more in case she'd see the marks. Teachers in primary and secondary school were always concerned about me being so withdrawn etc and raised it with my mother ... I was one of seven children, my parents both worked very hard as well as raising us.

    There's not much point now in saying that they could or should have done things differently, but as regards your concern that you could miss signs of abuse in your children, I'd reckon it's unlikely. People have more awareness around that sort of thing now, I guess my parents were frustrated that they didn't know what was causing all of my problems, but I just wasn't willing or able to communicate it properly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,833 ✭✭✭Princess Calla


    The signs were there. When I was four years old I stopped using my left leg - I can't remember too much about it, but it shrunk down to half the size of the other leg through lack of use. My parents brought me for Xrays and to physios and all the rest, they were told that there was nothing physical causing it and was it possible I'd been through some sort of trauma? My parents didn't know, they couldn't have known, but I guess that was my way of trying to communicate that something was wrong.

    In hindsight my mum says that I changed when I was that age - I was always a quiet child, but I became very withdrawn and fearful, I only felt safe when I was alone, I'd lock myself away in hidden dark places (my favourite was inside the roof-rack stored in the garage with all the lights off!) I had nightmares, I started wetting the bed again, I went from being a good eater to having aversions to most foods - when I was a bit older, the staff in a Gaelteacht I went to told my mother they thought I had an eating disorder. I was self-harming, cutting myself from the age of about eight - I wouldn't let my mother see me in the bathroom any more in case she'd see the marks. Teachers in primary and secondary school were always concerned about me being so withdrawn etc and raised it with my mother ... I was one of seven children, my parents both worked very hard as well as raising us.

    There's not much point now in saying that they could or should have done things differently, but as regards your concern that you could miss signs of abuse in your children, I'd reckon it's unlikely. People have more awareness around that sort of thing now, I guess my parents were frustrated that they didn't know what was causing all of my problems, but I just wasn't willing or able to communicate it properly.

    That's a heartbreaking post. Thank you so much for your honesty.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,907 ✭✭✭Stevieluvsye


    Well done on your progress AMA

    See you have been in Pat's previously so i'm assuming you had dealings with <snip>! Just throws meds at everyone in that place. I haven't dealt with him personally but close family member had.


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    Well done on your progress AMA

    See you have been in Pat's previously so i'm assuming you had dealings with <snip>! Just throws meds at everyone in that place. I haven't dealt with him personally but close family member had.

    I'd know him to see but have never had any dealings with him personally myself.

    My own psychiatrist is one of two consultants in St Pats who specialise in Addiction, obviously mental health professionals in that area tend to be very careful about what they prescribe to addicts. You don't want someone to come in with one addiction and leave with an addiction to prescription drugs!

    I'm on a few different psychiatric medications but at this stage I have a good understanding of what I'm on and why. My psychiatrist has always been absolutely open to discussing what I'm on, what dosage, and her reasons for prescribing it. One thing you get in private hospitals that doesn't seem to happen in public hospitals is consistency of care - I'm under the same psychiatrist every time I've been admitted, and I see her at every out-patient appointment too, so over the years we've built up a strong trusting relationship. She knows me probably better than I know myself and I'd trust her with my life!

    I can't really comment on your relative's situation, I hope they're doing better now though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 421 ✭✭banoffe2


    your are a real inspiration OP continued recovery and good health and good luck to you.
    Generations of alcohol addiction in my family unfortunately no one ever got recovery

    I got counseling and went to Al Anon myself to learn how it impacted on me as family illness and found the awareness a great help and great life skills now.

    A few queries for you please OP

    Is there always an underlying reason why people become addicts?
    or are some people just born with an addictive gene?

    I know with sibling there are two who have issues with alcohol one doesn't drink now but never actually diagnosed, just thinks drink doesn't suit them. I notice one of them has become a isolated socially without the booze and his personality is different without it, like a bit more withdrawn, while the other is very high functioning but has a few drinks every evening without fail.

    based on your experience do you think it runs in families?


  • Company Representative Posts: 37 Verified rep I've been to rehab, AMA


    banoffe2 wrote: »
    your are a real inspiration OP continued recovery and good health and good luck to you.
    Generations of alcohol addiction in my family unfortunately no one ever got recovery

    I got counseling and went to Al Anon myself to learn how it impacted on me as family illness and found the awareness a great help and great life skills now.

    A few queries for you please OP

    Is there always an underlying reason why people become addicts?
    or are some people just born with an addictive gene?

    I know with sibling there are two who have issues with alcohol one doesn't drink now but never actually diagnosed, just thinks drink doesn't suit them. I notice one of them has become a isolated socially without the booze and his personality is different without it, like a bit more withdrawn, while the other is very high functioning but has a few drinks every evening without fail.

    based on your experience do you think it runs in families?

    Research shows a strong family predisposition when it comes to addiction. I know in Coolmine they regularly get second-generation and even third-generation addicts from the same family into their services, and they place a huge emphasis on working with families to break that cycle of addiction. Many opiate-users I know would first have used drugs either with older siblings or (surprisingly often) would have been introduced to them by their parents, particularly where the siblings and parents are also involved in selling drugs.

    In my own case, I have six siblings all of whom drink socially, but not problematically. I've never been particularly worried about any of them succumbing to alcoholism, simply because they don't have the history or issues that I do. They enjoy alcohol in a normal healthy way that I'm incapable of, and I don't begrudge them that. I don't think alcohol as a substance is something to be feared or hated; a healthy respect for it is essential but the substance itself is a means to an end. If I didn't get what I needed through alcohol I'd have gotten it through self-harm or drugs; other people get what they need through gambling or other reckless behaviours (shopping, gambling, whatever).

    My point being that I don't think there's much point in us bemoaning the fact that alcohol is such a scourge on Irish society. It is a problem, but it's not alcohol itself that causes the problem, it's the fact that so many people feel the need to regularly seek oblivion, or to block out reality, or to suppress their emotions, or to hurt themselves, or whatever reason they have for abusing alcohol.

    So rather than asking whether alcoholism runs in families, I think it's more relevant to ask does depression run in the family? Does low self-esteem run in the family? Is there conflict and tension there? Because in my opinion, from what I've observed, these sorts of traits within a family are far more likely to contribute to addiction than any biological predisposition.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭Jurgen The German


    No question for you OP, just want to say well done on turning yourself around and I wish you the very best for your future.


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  • Posts: 17,728 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    .......
    Between all of the support I've gotten from Coolmine, and the ongoing support I get from my psychiatric team in St Pats too, I'm doing really well at the moment ... life is good. :)

    I'm delighted for you.
    I wish you all the best with your recovery.


This discussion has been closed.
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